A Late Night (And Early Morning): Iowa Caucus Results Delayed
Following difficulties with precincts reporting outcomes, the winner of the Iowa Caucus was unknown early Tuesday morning. VPR's Henry Epp was there for the long, result-free night — here's what he saw and heard.
Before outcome, an optimistic message
Like the other candidates, Sanders eventually decided to make a speech without knowing the results. He took the stage at his watch party in Des Moines well after 10 p.m. local time, and immediately acknowledged the bizarre situation.
"Let me begin by stating, I imagine, have a strong feeling, that at some point, the results will be announced," he said. "And when those results are announced, I have a good feeling, we're going to be doing very, very well in Iowa."
CNN is piped in over the speakers here, delivering lots of speculation over what's going on with the lack of results at this hour.— Henry Epp (@TheHenryEpp) February 4, 2020
Sanders then went on to give his standard stump speech, saying he's committed to beating President Donald Trump and to enacting Medicare for All, free public college, and climate change initiatives.
Reader: he did not.— Henry Epp (@TheHenryEpp) February 4, 2020
And in Ankeny?
Hours before the unprecedented cliffhanger, Iowans partook in the traditional caucus process, where they show up to their precinct, and physically join groups supporting each candidate. In Ankeny, a suburb of Des Moines, the precinct met in an event space within a new, mixed-use development. The Sanders precinct captain was Brian McLain, whom VPR followed on Sunday.
Worth noting: chair expected 300 people here tonight. 195 is... lower than that.— Henry Epp (@TheHenryEpp) February 4, 2020
McLain predicted that former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg would all do well, but that Sanders would come out on top.
"And I'm just kind of curious how much we're going to take it by," McLain said.
During the caucus, the four candidates touted by McLain crossed the 15% threshold to be declared viable. Sanders got 61 votes, Warren 52 votes, Biden 42 votes and Buttigieg had 38 votes. Those choices get divvied into state delegates. Sanders walked away with three delegates, while his three top rivals each landed two delegates.
Next up: New Hampshire
Even without Iowa results, the campaign has shifted to New Hampshire, where voters will go the actual polls, not a caucus, on Tuesday Feb. 11. Sanders, who has unveiled a series of campaign events in the Granite State, said he has momentum.
"And now it is on to New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, California, and onward to victory. Thank you all very much."
Sanders seemed optimistic, and for a while it seemed like he might come back out to address the crowd if results came in. But then, just before midnight Iowa time, campaign surrogate Nina Turner told the crowd the event was over.
"So the Senator is not coming back out tonight, but I want you to keep your faith and keep your fire, baby," she said.
Later in the night, the Sanders campaign released its own results, based on the campaign’s internal reporting from 40% of precincts. The Iowa Democratic Party plans to release results Tuesday, according to media reports.
See NPR's results from the Iowa Caucus below: